The newly built Pomerantz Center is making quite an impact. The 70,000-square-foot building, located on the campus’ east side at the corner of Market Street and the T. Anne Cleary Walkway, features a soaring four-story glass atrium with fantastic fourth-floor views of the west side of campus. The building houses several University offices that offer a remarkable array of services and support to first-time visitors to campus, current students, and even alumni.
Admission Visitors Center
As you enter the Admission Visitors Center (AVC), located on the first floor of Pomerantz Center, the light from south-facing windows brightens the reception area and shows off the warm-toned wood floors. A wall of brochures detailing each available major and program at the University awaits perusal by prospective students and their parents.
“AVC staff members work with advisors, counselors, and students from high schools and community colleges across the nation. During the year, we visit several hundred high schools and college fairs to recruit students to Iowa,” says Kathy Bassett, senior associate director of admissions. “Our goal on campus is to deliver information, answer questions from visiting parents and students, and help them experience the atmosphere and culture of the University.”
AVC staff members host more than 17,000 potential students and their parents each year.
From Black & Gold Days that serve several hundred students to visits specifically tailored to one student, AVC staff members organize bus tours, campus walking tours, residence hall tours, and visits to many of the colleges on campus. They also can arrange for a student to meet with a faculty member or sit in on a college class.
“We try to anticipate and respond to the needs of parents and students. We want them to let us know what they need, come prepared for their visit, and ask tough questions,” says Bassett.
AVC provides information to students and parents about costs, majors, credit by exam, dorms, and student life. The center also provides information about financial aid and scholarships, as well as tutoring and support.
Before and after their visit, students or parents can chat online with an admissions counselor using instant messaging through AOL, Yahoo, MSN, and ICQ. (For more information, see www.uiowa.edu/admissions/undergrad/ask-us/im.htm.)
Parental involvement in the campus visit and college selection process is significant, and parents and students attend most information sessions together. That way, everyone receives the same information so it can be discussed later.
Once a student is accepted at Iowa, he or she will hear from Orientation Services and the Academic Advising Center.
“The best feature of our new space is that each academic advisor has a private office,” says Pat Folsom, director of the Academic Advising Center (AAC). “This is going to be a great advantage to our students and staff.”
The AAC is on the second floor of the Pomerantz Center. Folsom says that in their previous location, the advisors shared office space, making it more difficult to have frank discussions with students. The center’s 34 advisors see more than 8,000 students during the fall semester.
Iowa’s approach to academic advising is special for a large institution. Advising is mandatory for students. Each advisor is assigned a caseload of students, making it easier to build trusting relationships, ultimately enhancing the experience for both parties.
“Students often consult with a variety of people, including parents, about the courses they take. While open lines of communication benefit everyone, students should always consult with their advisor as well. AAC’s advisors are on the inside track and receive the latest information about which courses are required or recommended for Iowa’s majors, minors, and certificates,” says Folsom.
Establishing a strong advising relationship is important and a student may change his or her advisor at any time, by calling the center or stopping by the front desk.
AAC offers programming for new students, including a college transition course, success seminar, and a transition course for transfer students. Advisors also encourage students to take advantage of the Pomerantz Career Center. Students with questions about internships or how to turn their majors (e.g., music and business) into a job can go upstairs to receive advising from career center staff.
Located on the third floor, the Pomerantz Career Center opens to a bright and airy space used for workshops that can accommodate more than 50 students, a library filled with reference books, and 12 computer stations for job searching.
“We’re here to serve Iowa’s students and we encourage them to visit the center early on in their college career,” says David Baumgartner, assistant dean and director.
The center isn’t just for Iowa seniors looking for a job. If a student isn’t sure what can be done with a degree in English, or if a parent wants their student to pursue a degree in accounting but the student wants to be a dancer, the career center can provide some advice. Last year, the center conducted more than 3,000 advising sessions with students.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of assistance with résumé preparation and job interviews, career fairs, information sessions, and the computer stations that list postings for several hundred jobs and internships.
“Internships can provide a big advantage for job seekers,” says Baumgartner. “They provide excellent training and employers recognize an internship as real experience in the field.”
Staff members at the center have dedicated increased time to visiting small- to mid-sized companies and organizations in Iowa, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Washington, D.C. Many of these companies will visit Iowa’s campus for job fairs and on-campus interviews as part of the employer relations program. Last year, more than 250 companies participated in the program. The center has more than 20 dedicated interview suites, twice the number available in their previous space.
Students also can take advantage of Employment Expo, the center’s online recruiting system. Employment Expo makes it easy for students to submit their résumés for consideration by companies scheduling interviews on campus. Some of the companies that recently have visited Iowa are Procter & Gamble, LaSalle Bank, Pella Corp., and Principal Financial Group.
Also on the third floor is an office dedicated to career guidance and networking for Iowa’s alumni. The office, cosponsored by the Alumni Association and the Tippie College of Business, houses the AlumNet program, which organizes several hundred Iowa alumni who help students and Alumni Association members with career networking. The office also can assist with résumé improvement and provide information about job openings.
Alumni are always welcome on campus. The fourth floor of the Pomerantz Center houses the offices of the full-time and executive MBA programs and MBA Career Services.
MBA Career Services offers assistance to students seeking employment who have graduated or will graduate with an MBA from Iowa. The program works to bring employers to campus to fill job and internship openings through on-campus interviews. Companies also provide informational sessions for MBA students.
The administrative offices of the full-time and executive MBA programs also are located here, along with two large classrooms that accommodate the programs’ courses. The Pomerantz Center location also encourages community among the programs’ students, providing space for them to meet in groups to work on projects.
With so many services and programs available, if there is one building on campus that students should come to know, it’s the Pomerantz Center.
“I see a synergy developing in these offices based on the close proximity of them. From the first time parents and students set foot on campus, they can visit each office and take advantage of the range of services they provide,” says Baumgartner. “We’re all very excited about the possibilities and look forward to working with students to help them achieve their goals.”
by Lesly Huffman